Is Lonely a Result of Being Alone?
By: Ken Goldberg, Meditation Teacher, Former Buddhist Monk & Spiritual Life Coach
I rode my bicycle past a community pool today. The children were having fun. It took me back to a time where I could be happy despite my environment.
When I was young my family had enough money to live well. We had a family business that provided a good income for my father. We lived in a nice house and, in the summer, we went to a country club where I played in the pool. I loved the pool and had fun despite the fact that I went to sleep at night fantasizing killing my father because he beat me regularly.
What does family of origin have to do with the adult quality of life? No one knows for sure. No one knows what makes relationships work. (Does not prevent “experts” from saying they do).
But I was damaged. I knew hate better than love. I knew anger better than compassion. I lived like a caged animal, looking for an opportunity to escape. My psyche was damaged. Probably no more so than most kids but more than some. I made early decisions intended to survive. Then as I became a teen I made decisions intended to thrive in dysfunctional arenas, like the criminal subculture.
I did not have the ability to see that my behavior was driven by this very damaged psyche and soul. I was dangerous to myself and others the same way an injured animal can be dangerous. I could not fill the hole in my soul and I had no idea how loneliness played a part in all of it. I am a very social animal. But my social circle even now finds me most comfortable amongst the denizens of the night.
Now, I frequently sit quietly in meditation, carefully watching this thing that I have which generates thoughts. I treat it like a circus performance. I am amused that I once performed in all 3 rings, simultaneously and mindlessly. The most prominent performance I give is that of Victim. It is a place from which no healing or growth can be had. I would blame everything but my own thoughts for my misfortune. In truth, I suffer because I think and I suffer because I do not get the outcome I desired.
Who stood in the way of my success which I have so clearly defined? The answer is, it is always me and it is always about my defining success.
I mention love and relationships a lot in my writings because in my travels as a counselor and human being, it seems that people identify loneliness as the most significant source of emotional and psychological pain. And like everyone else, it has plagued me greatly at times.
Everybody has their path. Some smoother, some rougher. I am, like you are, a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. You can never really know me and I can never really know you. But I will keep showing up to try to know you better and I will work hard to let you see me better. This will stimulate a community which has spiritual underpinnings and can help me to not feel so lonely and help me to feel lonely.
May you be blessed and know that all things, including loneliness are impermanent. May all that you miss, you not need. May all that you need, you will have.
Ken Goldberg’s Bio:
Ken Goldberg has been the meditation teacher at the Buddhist Center of Dallas for the past 7 years. The center is a Thai Buddhist temple located at 8484 Stults Road in Dallas. Everyone is welcome every Wednesday night at 7PM whether they are brand new or expert at meditation.
Ken was raised in the streets of Chicago where he became a social worker and specialized in working with emotionally disturbed adolescents. He was also a certified addictions counselor.
After practicing law 30 years, he retired to pursue a focused spiritual path. He trained as a Buddhist monk and meditation teacher with Buddhist meditation master Ajahn Sarayut of Thailand. Ken now offers spiritual life coaching with an emphasis on persons in recovery from addictions and traumas. Coaching fees are based on ability to pay.
You can email Ken at: